Government is a group of people that has the power to enforce laws and policies for its citizens. It also makes sure that people are not robbed of their rights or treated unfairly. It has many other jobs too such as protecting its citizens from natural disasters, ensuring that people who are unemployed can get food stamps and keeping the environment healthy by cleaning waterways, forests and sanctuaries.
In the past, different countries have had different types of government. Some have been monarchies, aristocracies, timocracies, democracies and republics. The most common kind of government is a republic. In a republic, a small number of people are elected to represent the whole country. Then they make decisions and draft laws for the entire country. The other type of government is a monarchy, which means one person has the power to make all decisions.
Most of the time, governments are reactive rather than proactive. This is because the people that run a government often only want to use its powers to fatten their own pockets or give money to their favorite charities. Each class or special interest group competes with the others to control the government machine and throw its levers in their favor.
The best way for the government to do its job is to keep its power at a minimum. To do that, governments need to be close to the people. That is why most Western democracies protect their citizens’ freedom of speech and press and have a democratic system that allows citizens to vote. Governments also need to maintain strict security at their borders and within the country, provide a good education for its citizens and ensure the economy functions well. Governments must also protect the environment and wildlife by cleaning international waters, maintaining forests and sanctuaries and investing in renewable energy resources.
To do all of these things, governments need a lot of money. Governments can raise the money through taxes, which are a form of fees paid by people who live in a certain area to help pay for the services they need. Governments can also use their money to invest in projects that will pay back later on, like roads and bridges. They can also invest in research and development, and help companies grow by lending them money or buying their products.
There are three levels of government in the United States: national, state and local. Each level of government has its own set of rules and laws, but it cannot pass laws that conflict with the laws passed by the levels above. This is known as the “Ladder of Government.”
The national level is the top rung. It is ruled by the Constitution. The next rung down is the state level, followed by the local level. If you are interested in learning more about how our government works, click here for Lesson Handouts that include a ladder of the different governmental levels and a glossary. There are also other Web sites geared for students that explain the three branches of the U.S. government and how a bill becomes a law.